By Sarah Klein
Just in time for the May long weekend, Manitoba has declared May 19 to 25 to be Safe Boating Awareness Week.
Healthy Living, Seniors and Consumer Affairs Minister Jim Rondeau made the announcement Friday near the boat docks at The Forks.
“Boating is one of our most popular summer pastimes, a fun, exciting way to connect with friends and family and enjoy the beauty of nature in Manitoba,” Rondeau said. “But we need to think safety first and we’re proclaiming Safe Boating Awareness Week today to remind boaters to take simple steps to ensure a safe day on the water and avoid needless tragedies.”
Carl Shier, chair of the Manitoba Coalition for Safer Waters, said people not wearing their lifejackets continues to be a contributing factor in 80 percent of drownings. “They don’t work if you don’t wear them,” he said.
Wearing a lifejacket, always supervising children, avoiding drinking while boating, and taking a boat safety course can all reduce the risk while operating a watercraft.